New Views of an Old Continent: A Tectonics Lab Exercise Using Geophysical Maps of Australia
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Provide experience in analyzing and combining multiple data sets to interpret regional geology.
Elicit curiosity about large scale features of the Earth's surface, and an interest in different methods to investigate them.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
I provide to students poster size maps of the Geology of Australia, the Magnetic Map of Australia, and the Gravity Anomaly Map of Australia. These are available in various forms and resolutions from Geoscience Australia (see link below), in printed form for quite reasonable prices or as free downloads. I include here links to digital files at moderate resolution. I try to have a set of maps for each 3 students.
I also post geographic, digital elevation, satellite image, and radiometric maps to provide more information and alternative views.
I provide the students with 2 handouts (links below): a sheet of general instructions, and an excerpt that includes some very basic information on the different geophysical maps.
The emphasis in this exercise is on exploring unfamiliar data sets and new ways of investigating regional geology and tectonics. I therefore spend very little time on the details of geophysical data acquisition and limitations, and none on quantitative analysis.
OZ SEEBASE Description of Geophysical Data Sets (Acrobat (PDF) 5.3MB May14 12)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Example of magnetic anomaly data used for tectonic interpretation:
Greene, David C., 2010, Neoproterozoic rifting in the southern Georgina Basin, central Australia: Implications for reconstructing Australia in Rodinia: Tectonics, v. 29, no. 5, TC5010, p.10-20.